## Monday, January 19, 2009

### Learning Modes - Some formulas

Once you start getting the idea of modes, one of the easiest ways to deal with them is knowing how they are spelled relative to their ionian version. We can Use the key of C as a great example.
`C Ionian     C  D  E  F  G  A  B    C MajorC Dorian     C  D  Eb F  G  A  Bb   Bb MajorC Phrygian   C  Db Eb F  G  Ab Bb   Ab MajorC Lydian     C  D  E  F# G  A  B    G MajorC Mixolydian C  D  E  F  G  A  Bb   F MajorC Aeolian    C  D  Eb F  G  Ab Bb   Eb MajorC Locrian    C  Db Eb F  Gb Ab Bb   Db MajorSince C Ionian has no altered notes, we can use that as a very nice baselineIonian      - No ChangesDorian      - b3 b7Phrygian    - b2, b3, b6, b7Lydian      - #4Mixolydian  - b7Aeolian     - b3, b6, b7Locrian     - b2, b3, b5, b6, b7So if we simply apply this formula to a major/ionian scale, we transform it into that mode.`

## Sunday, January 18, 2009

### Learning Modes - Extending the Chords

Now that we have a list of the triads that are diatonic to the modes of our key, we can extend them to include the diatonic 7th chords of the modes. We now have an even wider canvas to paint with. You may just thing that this is just slapping 7ths on each chord type. For Diminished and Minor, it pretty much is. But for the major 7ths you have to be careful. Because 2 will be major 7th and 1 will be dominant 7th.

`I          Ionian,Lydian,MixolydianImaj7      Ionian,LydianI7         Mixolydiani          Dorian,Phrygian,Aeolianimin7      Dorian,Phrygian,Aeoliani°         Locriani°7        LocrianII         LydianII7        Lydian ii         Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydianiimin7     Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydianii°        Aeolian ii°7    AeolianbII        Phrygian,LocrianbIImaj7    Phrygian,Locrianiii        Ionian,Lydianiiimin7    Ionian,Lydianiii°       Mixolydianiii°7      MixolydianbIII       Dorian,Aeolian,PhrygianbIIImaj7   Dorian,AeolianbIII7      Phrygianbiii       Locrianbiiimin7   LocrianIV         Ionian,Dorian,MixolydianIVmaj7     Ionian,MixolydianIV7        Dorianiv         Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrianivmin7     Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrian#iv°       Lydian#iv°7      LydianV          Ionian,LydianVmaj7      LydianV7         Ionianv          Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolianvmin7      Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolianv°         Phrygianv°7        PhrygianbV         LocrianbVmaj7     Locrianvi         Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydianvi min7    Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydianvi°        Dorianvi°7       DorianbVI        Phrygian,Aeolian,LocrianbVImaj7    Phrygian,AeolianbVI7       Locrianvii°       Ionianvii°7      Ionianvii        Lydianvii min7   LydianbVII       Dorian,Mixolydian,AeolianbVII maj7  Dorian,MixolydianbVII7      Aeolianbvii       Phrygian,Locrianbvii min7  Phrygian,Locrian`

## Tuesday, January 13, 2009

### Learning Modes - Another Step

In my last post, we looked at a very simple chord progression with a couple of chords. Most likely you will be playing music that is much more complicated. So what happens when a Cm shows up in your song in G major? There is a note in that chord that is not in your key! Well there are a couple things you can do here.
• Do not play an E during this chord
• Switch to C Minor
• Find some other mode that works
Well option 1 is simple enough, but we want to spice things up a little. Option 2 and 3 actually go together. If we look closely at C minor, we find that it is 3 flats. Bb,Eb,Ab. Now by looking at the key signature, we see that the relative Major to C minor is Eb Major. If we look at the relative Majors to modes of G, we have G-F-Eb-D-C-Bb-Ab. So Eb Major == 3rd mode of G, which is G Phrygian. To see what other modes of G we could play over this Cm chord, we simply need to see which of the modes of G contain a Cm chord. Well since Cm is C-Eb-G we can see that Eb Major, Bb Major and Ab Major have Eb's in them (as well as C's and G's). So our options for playing over a Cm in G are
• G Phrygian (Eb Major)
• G Aeolian/minor (Bb Major)
• G Locrian (Ab Major)
Get ready for a little bit of information overload. If we take the notes of the modes of G

`G Ionian     G A  B  C  D  E  F#  G MajorG Dorian     G A  Bb C  D  E  F   F MajorG Phrygian   G Ab Bb C  D  Eb F   Eb MajorG Lydian     G A  B  C# D  E  F#  D MajorG Mixolydian G A  B  C  D  E  F   C MajorG Aeolian    G A  Bb C  D  Eb F   Bb MajorG Locrian    G Ab Bb C  Db Eb F   Ab Major`

and then figure out what all the triads are
`Ionian         G  Am Bm  C   D  Em F#°Dorian         Gm Am Bb  C   Dm E° FPhrygian       Gm Ab Bb  Cm  D° Eb FmLydian         G  A  Bm  C#° D  Em F#mMixolydian     G  Am B°  C   Dm Em FAeolian        Gm A° Bb  Cm  Dm Eb FLocrian        G° Ab Bbm Cm  Db Eb Fm`
we can make a list of the modes that contain each chord
`G   Ionian,Lydian,MixolydianGm  Dorian,Phrygian,AeolianG°  LocrianA   LydianAm  Ionian,Dorian,MixolydianAb  Phrygian,LocrianA°  AeolianBm  Ionian,LydianB°  MixolydianBb  Dorian,Aeolian,PhrygianBbm LocrianC   Ionian,Dorian,MixolydianCm  Phrygian,Aeolian,LocrianC#° LydianD   Ionian,LydianDm  Dorian,Mixolydian,AeolianD°  PhrygianDb  LocrianEm  Ionian,Lydian,MixolydianE°  DorianEb  Phrygian,Aeolian,LocrianF#° IonianF#m LydianF   Dorian,Mixolydian,AeolianFm  Phrygian,Locrian `
Then we can generalize them into a more portable method using chord numbers
`I     Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydiani     Dorian,Phrygian,Aeoliani°    LocrianII    Lydianii    Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydianii°   AeolianbII   Phrygian,Locrianiii   Ionian,Lydianiii°  MixolydianbIII  Dorian,Aeolian,Phrygianbiii  LocrianIV    Ionian,Dorian,Mixolydianiv    Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrian#iv°  LydianV     Ionian,Lydianv     Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolianv°    PhrygianbV    Locrianvi    Ionian,Lydian,Mixolydianvi°   DorianbVI   Phrygian,Aeolian,Locrianvii°  Ionianvii   LydianbVII  Dorian,Mixolydian,Aeolianbvii  Phrygian,Locrian`

Now if we use this chart we can easily get our list of available modes for many chords that may be in our tune. If we run across an Ab major chord in our key of G tune (which would be a bII), we see that G phrygian (Eb Major) or G Locrian (Ab Major) might work well. Which would make sense since playing Ab major over an Ab Major chord would make sense.

Does this mumbo jumbo make sense? Have I made a chordal miscalculation? Sound off in the comments.

## Friday, January 09, 2009

### Learning Modes - Putting Something Together

Now that we can find a major scale that is equivalent to a mode we need to be able to know how to choose which modes to play. Here is one method that can yield some good results. For starters lets look at a very simple chord progression in the key of G:

|: G | C | G | D7 :|

We need to determine what modes work with which chords. To do this of course, we need to be able to spell our chords. First take G Major which is made up of G-B-D. Lets find which modes retain these 3 notes.

G Ionian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G) - This works
G Dorian (G,A,Bb,C,D,E,F,G) - Nope it has a Bb
G Phrygian (G,Ab,Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G) - Nope Bb and Eb
G Lydian (G,A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G) - Yes
G Mixolydian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F,G) - Yes
G Aeolian (G,A,Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G) - No
G Locrian (G,Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb,F,G) - No

So from this we see that G Ionian (major),G Lydian and G Mixolydian will work for a G Major chord.

Next we look at C Major which is made of C-E-G

G Ionian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G) - Yes
G Dorian (G,A,Bb,C,D,E,F,G) - Yes
G Phrygian (G,Ab,Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G) - No
G Lydian (G,A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G) - No
G Mixolydian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F,G) - Yes
G Aeolian (G,A,Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G) - No
G Locrian (G,Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb,F,G) - No

C major works with G Major, G Dorian and G Mixolydian

and Finally D7 which is D-F#-A-C

G Ionian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G) - Yes
G Dorian (G,A,Bb,C,D,E,F,G) - No
G Phrygian (G,Ab,Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G) - No
G Lydian (G,A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G) - No
G Mixolydian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F,G) - No
G Aeolian (G,A,Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G) - No
G Locrian (G,Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb,F,G) - No

So we will stick with G Major for the D7

When we map this out

 |:G C G D7 :| G MajorG Lydian (D Major)G Mixolydian (C Major) G MajorG Dorian (F Major)G Mixolydian (C Major) G MajorG Lydian (D Major)G Mixolydian (C Major) G Major

So we have several options here we can play major all the way or use any combination we choose. When we use G Lydian we have a #4 note added and when we play G Mixolydian we have a b7 note.

We could of course look at the scales under the C chord in terms of C if you really wanted to, You would find that G Dorian = C Mixolydian,G Major = C Lydian and we already saw that G Mixolydian = C Major, but these are all enharmonic and so dealing with them all as modes of G can make it easier for some.

So here is an mp3 (inside the zip file) of these 3 chords that you can put on repeat on your computer and try jamming over these chords using these modes. I threw this together at 1:30am, so it probably won't sound very good. Anyway check it out and good luck!

## Monday, January 05, 2009

### Learning Modes - Finding the Relative Major

In my last article on modes we discussed how you can find a given mode by playing a major scale at a given interval from the original note.

First take a look at this slightly confusing table.

 Mode Tonality Steps Down 1/2 Steps Down Interval Down 1/2 Steps Up Interval Up Ionian (Major) Major 0/12 Unison/Octave 12/0 Unison/Octave Dorian Minor W 2 Major 2nd 10 Minor 7th Phrygian Minor WW 4 Major 3rd 8 Minor 6th Lydian Major WWH 5 Perfect 4th 7 Perfect 5th Mixolydian Major / Dom WWHW 7 Perfect 5th 5 Perfect 4th Aeolian (Minor) Minor WWHWW 9 Major 6th 3 Minor 3rd Locrian Diminished WWHWWW 11 Major 7th 1 Minor 2nd (Ionian) Major WWHWWWH 12/0 Unison/Octave 0/12 Unison/Octave

If you look at this chart you will get a quick reference to where you will find the scale you are needing.

Lets take a example:

Say we are playing a G major chord, we have 3 mode options that might sound good with it. Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian since they are the 3 "major" tonality modes (that is the 3rd is a major 3rd in the mode). So how do we get to G Ionian, G Lydian and G Mixolydian? I always have an easier time going up an interval rather than down so in the chart above, I have converted the intervals down from the WWHWWWH pattern we talked about in the previous article to ascending intervals.
• G Ionian = G Major, since Ionian = Major
• G Lydian is the major scale starting a perfect 5th above the scale in question. So a perfect 5th above G is D. So G Lydian = D Major
• G Mixolydian is the major scale starting a Perfect 4th above the note in question which is C, so G Mixolydian = C Major.
How about minor? If we are playing an F minor chord and want F dorian, F Phrygian or F Aeolian, then we find
• A minor 7th above F is Eb. Eb Major is F dorian
• A minor 6th above F is Db.Db Major is F Phrygian
• A minor 3rd above F is Ab. Ab Major is F Aeolian
Now something you may have noticed is that if we are playing F minor, why don't we play an F minor scale? We actaully do!. When we play Ab major as F aeolian, we are playing F minor. Since Aeolian is the same as natural minor.

So now we can grab a mode from a given chord.

## Saturday, January 03, 2009

### Learning Modes - The Relative Major Way

Ok so I did not invent this, but I did come up with it out of my own studies (as my college theory prof told me...the hard way). But I like many others learned early on 3 things about modes
1. The seven modes were just "starting" on the 7 notes of the scale. So If you were playing a C major scale and went from D to D it was D dorian, E to E was E Phrygian, etc.
2. Modes could sound really cool.
3. Modes were hard to apply in real life.
So I have had an idea to make a play-along CD/MP3 set for my guitar students where they would get simple to progressively more intricate chord progressions to try to improvise over and give them advice on trying different modes with them. The problem was trying to find a quick way to determine what mode went with what scale.  I did not want C major, D Dorian, E Phrygian, etc. I wanted C Major, C Dorian, C Phrygian, etc. So what was a quick way to find this. Well, I started by writing them out.

 C Major C D E F G A B C Dorian C D Eb F G A Bb C Phrygian C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C Lydian C D E F# G A B C Mixolydian C D E F G A Bb C Aeolian C D Eb F G Ab Bb C Locrian C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb

Then of course since modes were just scales starting on different notes of a certain key then each of these should be enharmonic to a major scale. So I wrote those out

 C Major (Ionian) C Major C Dorian Bb Major C Phrygian Ab Major C Lydian G Major C Mixolydian F Major C Aeolian Eb Major C Locrian Db Major

Well that was all helpful and all but I wanted a pattern to follow. How could this list of keys be related? Well Somehow I noticed a pattern

Bb is a whole step below C, Ab is a whole step below Bb and G is a halfstep below Ab. Whole, Whole Half. Well if you are familiar with how a major scale is built, it Goes

Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half

in the forward direction (C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C)

When you look at the relative major keys that make up the modes of a given key. They use the same pattern going backwards.

C,Bb,Ab,G,F,Eb,Db,C

So if you are in C and want to play C Lydian, since lydian is the 4th mode. You can go down Whole (to dorian), Whole (to Phrygian) , Half (to Lydian) which is the Key of G Major. So if you play G Major over a C major that is C Lydian. Which works since Lydian is the same as a raised 4th. F is the 4th note of the C scale and in the key of G it is sharped.

Now should you ignore how to spell your modes without this method? Certainly not! but this can give you a "cheat sheet" way of getting into a given mode.

Next time we will talk about applying this to the guitar.